Editor's note: We have changed the ratings in this review to reflect recent changes in our ratings scale. Find out more here.
It's hard to differentiate between LCD monitors in the marketplace. That's the only plausible explanation we can come up with for why Envision chose to accessorize its 17-inch EN7220 with pen cups and photo clips. The result is a somewhat dowdy-looking display that might appeal to administrative assistants or people who tend to misplace their pens. Remove the accessories, however, and you're left with a basic LCD that's very adjustable, performs well, and costs significantly less than similarly adjustable LCDs in its size range.
Another possibility is that the EN7220's accessories are meant to divert attention from the inelegant design. If you fill the EN7220Â’s flimsy plastic "accessory cups" with pens and long-stemmed flowers and slide photos of your pet Labradoodle into the two photo clips along the top of the display, you may not notice that the monitor itself has a tired-looking black-and-silver casing that would fit right into the set of a low-budget sci-fi show. To its credit, the monitor is highly adjustable. The display panel swivels 70 degrees from left to right, it tilts back and forth through a range of 30 degrees, and the neck telescopes about 4 inches for a maximum height of 7.5 inches off the desktop. You can attach the panel to a VESA wall mount, and it also pivots between Portrait and Landscape modes. (PivotPro software is included on the installation CD so that you can adjust the picture accordingly.) There is no cable-feed system on the neck, but Envision does include a small Velcro ring for binding the analog signal cable and the power cable together--a thoughtful inclusion, as the cables attach on opposite ends of the back panel. The EN7220Â’s base has a slightly raised edge, so it can serve as a tray for paper clips or the little tchotchkes office drones so love to decorate their desks with. Even with the panel in its fully raised position, the base of the EN7220 doesnÂ’t wobble. The panel swivels from side to side at the point where it joins the neck, but the swivel action tends to spin the base, as well. The panel lifts quite smoothly, but lowering it requires some force and produces a distressingly loud clunk.
There are four small lozenge-shaped buttons along the bottom bezel, and the onscreen menu is easy to navigate with these buttons once you realize that the autoadjust button also serves to exit submenus. (This fact is mentioned in the CD user guide, but in case you can't be bothered to read it, now you know.) The other three buttons take you into submenus and let you adjust things such as the horizontal and vertical position, the color temperature (Cool, Warm, or user-specified RGB levels), the focus, and the position of the onscreen menu on the display.
The Envision EN7220 performed well on CNET's DisplayMate-based tests at its native resolution of 1,024x768 with a 60Hz refresh rate. Its text was sharp and easy to read, with good contrast. Grayscale performance was decent on screens with fewer shades, but when it came to reproducing 64 or more shades of gray, the display showed compression at the extreme ends, meaning that the progression through dark and light grays shifted abruptly. We noticed some color-tracking errors, which showed up as color tinting in the grayscales, but most LCDs suffer from this problem to varying extents. The EN7220 was about average in this regard. LCDs also have a notoriously difficult time producing true blacks, but the EN7220 actually produced a decently dark black. However, the screen was not uniformly bright--the bottom half was noticeably brighter than the top half. DVD playback was good for a monitor in this price range. We saw a good bit of digital noise in background colors, but streaking and ghosting was minimal.
Envision backs the EN7220 with a three-year parts-and-labor warranty, but the LCD panel is covered for only one year. You can increase the panel's coverage to three years for $39.99 or bump up all of the coverage to five years for $59.99. Toll-free tech support is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)